San Antonio professor receives international nursing research award

A professor in the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio has received one of the nursing profession’s most prestigious research honors — the Episteme Award. The biennial award was presented to Kathleen R. Stevens, Ed.D., RN, ANEF, FAAN, by Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the Honor Society of Nursing, at the society’s 41st Biennial Convention in Grapevine, Texas. 

In connection with her being named an Episteme Laureate, Dr. Stevens will be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in July at the society’s 23rd International Nursing Research Congress in Australia.

The Baxter International Foundation’s Episteme Award acknowledges a major breakthrough in the development of nursing knowledge that has resulted in a significant and recognizable benefit to the public. (Episteme is the Greek word for knowledge.)

Dr. Stevens, professor in the Department of Health Restoration and & Care Systems Management, is director of the Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice (ACE), a School of Nursing center of excellence that she founded in 2000.

Through ACE, Dr. Stevens improves patient care through her efforts to build a workforce and work environments that move research quickly into high-quality care. Central to this effort is redesigning systems to ensure that patients receive safe care. “Bridging scientific results to bedside care involves hardwiring new knowledge into care delivery; stimulating clinicians to innovate, evaluate and adopt changes; and embracing patient and family preferences. In short, the goal is to find what research has shown to work best and put it into play for better outcomes,” Dr. Stevens said.

To accomplish this, Dr. Stevens developed theories of evidence-based practice, established national consensus on new skills needed in clinical care and initiated a series of professional development conferences for clinicians, scientists and hospital leaders. The conferences include the Summer Institute on Evidence-Based Practice, the Educators Evidence-Based Practice Workshop and the Improvement Science Summit. The Summer Institute, launched in 2002, celebrated its 10th annual program in July. Over the past decade, more than 5,000 participants have attended the institute, bringing change to hundreds of institutions.

Additionally, Dr. Stevens developed the Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN), a national online research laboratory that enables academic and practice associates to conduct improvement research, accelerating the transformation of health care into safe and reliable systems. “The bridge between scientists and clinical service represents an ongoing commitment to excellence in health care and the advancement of nursing science,” she explained.

“The Episteme Award is a tremendous honor. It is the capstone of my career in nursing,” Dr. Stevens said. “I stand tall because I stand on the shoulders of the mentors and colleagues who came before me, as well as with those who are working now to improve patient care.”

Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide. Its 125,000 members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and others in 90 countries.


Photo on front page: (Left to right) Patricia Thompson, CEO of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), and Alice Campbell from the Baxter Foundation present Kathleen Stevens, Ed.D., RN, ANEF, FAAN, with the Episteme Award, while Karen Morin, STTI immediate past president, looks on. Photo courtesy of John Hudson Photography.

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